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Wednesday, 4 May 1932

Mr JAMES (Hunter) .- The purpose of the clause is to enable the Commonwealth Government, when it cannot recover from the head of a State department moneys belonging to the State, to apply compulsion to any lesser officer or group of officers who may be handling such moneys. Possibly in a group of a dozen officers there may be one sympathizer with the present Commonwealth Government- an Eric Campbell or a " de Goat " who would readily obey the instructions of the right honorable member for Flinders (Mr. Bruce). A man may be merely a clerical assistant; but, if moneys belonging to the State Government pass through his hands, he will be required by this clause to hand them over to the Commonwealth. That is going too far. Apparently an officer is not to hand the money to his superior who directs him, and to whom he is responsible. I am astonished at the audacity of the proposal; it is bound to create a good deal of discontent in the New South Wales Public Service. The Commonwealth Government has not been able to compel Mr. McMahon, the Taxation Commissioner, to do its bidding ; but it hopes that it may find one of his officers more complacent. If the Commonwealth should be unable to get the revenue of the New South Wales railways from Mr. Goode, it may be able to acquire it through one of his officers under threat of prosecution.

Mr Maxwell - Can the honorable member indicate how these moneys can be collected without putting this method into operation?

Other honorable members interjecting,

Mr JAMES - All of these interjections help me, and they delay the measure.

Mr Thorby - I rise to a point of order. I submit that the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James) is guilty of deliberate obstruction.

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